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3 takeaways from Nebraska football win over Northwestern



Nebraska football
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win and here are three takeaways from the Nebraska football win over Northwestern.

It might have been the definition of an ugly win, but Nebraska football was the team leaving Memorial Stadium with the fourth win of the season all the same.

Heinrich Haarberg got off to a rough start, throwing two interceptions in the opening stanza. Hanging onto the football continues to be an issue.

However, the defense was elite. Nebraska was credited with eight sacks and nine tackles for loss. Time and time again the defense was put in a rough spot but held Northwestern out of the end zone which was the key to the win.

Nebraska didn’t cover the spread. But the Huskers are one step closer to a bowl game and here are three takeaways from the 17-9 win over Northwestern.

The Blackshirts saved the day

Nebraska gave the ball away to Northwestern twice in the first quarter. Both times the Huskers gave Northwestern the ball on their side of the field, yet the defense yielded just three points.

Nash Hutmacher and Ty Robinson were borderline unblockable up front. Nash has two first-quarter sacks and finished with three total.

The Blackshirts only forced one turnover but their red-zone defense was a game-changer. Malcolm Hartzog even allowed a big pass play. Yet, he got the player down before the end and the defense held to a kick.

Things were ugly on offense — the defense was spectacular, which is why Nebraska escaped with a win.

Freshmen came up big

Just when you thought the offense wasn’t going to be able to do anything, Haarberg uncorked a perfect 44-yard touchdown pass to freshman Malachi Coleman for a touchdown.

That play might have been the difference between a win or a loss. As poorly as Haarberg threw the ball at times, you have to give him credit for that pass.

Coleman felt due for a big play and I actually predicted he would come up with an explosive play during this game. It was a great call but Coleman wasn’t the only freshman making impact plays.

Cameron Lenhardt was a force on defense. Princewill Umanmielen also had six tackles, a tackle for loss, and a sack. Emmett Johnson, a redshirt freshman, also had some positive moments and it’s good to see these young guys making early contributions.

The offense needs to get better

I’m not big about criticizing the play-calling but I didn’t agree with the Huskers coming out throwing early. Nebraska football had the advantage up front and should have pounded the rock from the beginning.

The calls on third down also got really predictable. I’ll be honest: before the touchdown pass, I was thinking it would be a good time for Jeff Sims. I’m not convinced we’ve seen the last of him as the starter, but also, it’s hard to imagine Haarberg playing much worse than he did at times on Saturday.

That being said, he still ran for first downs twice on third and longer than seven. The pass to Coleman was on the money too. Haarberg should keep starting (for now) but the offense has to play better than it did on Saturday, which is on the players and coaches.

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska